The Length of a Haircut: Donate Your Hair

Before and AfterOn Saturday, I cut off eight-inches of hair – this time for Pantene’s Beautiful Lengths program which creates wigs for cancer patients from donated hair.  A couple of years ago I cut off about ten-inches for the Locks of Love program.  Both these lengths were the minimums for the individual programs.  It’s a memorable effort in that my “stylist” Jorge (of “Jorge’s” aka the place in Koreatown where I get my hair cut for $10) remembered me from the last time I donated my hair, but I also feel that it’s memorable because people don’t participate in programs like this enough.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t have any “reason” to donate my hair the first time around.  I didn’t personally know anyone who had lost their hair to an illness. 

My mindset was very logical –

  1. I had hair;
  2. It grew;
  3. It would grow back;
  4. and (most importantly) someone out there in a tough situation might be happier from it.

But after all was said and done (or well, hair was cut), the stories of cancer survival and difficulties found me.  Cutting ten-inches of hair is a pretty noticeable thing and people will react, so of course when they asked – I told them that I had decided to donate my hair.  When this story came out at my doctor’s office, I was stopped by my doctor’s wife who was assisting that day.  She told me she was a cancer survivor and really appreciated what I did.  After telling my friend Katherine that I had cut my hair for Locks of Love, she told me she did this regularly because of her mother’s struggles with cancer.

From the story of my doctor’s wife to the experience of my friend and her mother, it brought out the universality of the situation – the degrees of separation that don’t really separate us as much as brings us together.  A wig of human hair requires not just one person, but six people to donate enough hair to create that wig.  That’s not counting the time, money, and manpower to get that wig to a person that needs it.

So having done this the second time around, I don’t really feel the weight of all that hair gone.  I feel like just a natural part of the process that makes positive change happen in the world.


To learn more about Pantene’s Beautiful Lengths, visit

To learn more about Locks of Love, visit